Ignite 2016: Mid-week report! 

What a crazy week it’s been so far down in Atlanta for Ignite 2016. So many highlights already, and a great Keynote for the kickoff. Here are a few of my thoughts so far from my experiences:

Day 1: Keynote Magic

  • The morning keynote speeches were good. We heard about innovation in the SharePoint world, as well as the transformations that are pushing us forward. Just a lot of fun.
  • In the afternoon, Jeff Teper gave a very persuasive presentation, featuring a look at the SharePoint roadmap. Jeff always delivers, and this was no exception.
  • Lots of new things are happening for OneDrive. Keep an eye out for some more details to come very soon.

Day 2: Facetime & Framework

  • I spent a good chunk of time of my 2nd day at the PixelMill booth. My team is awesome, and it was great to get to work alongside them, talking to attendees about what we do, and generally geeking out on PixelMill’s vision for SharePoint.
  • I also got the pleasure to spend the morning working at the SharePoint Framework kiosk. The new SP framework is something I am excited about, and I was happy to get to answer some questions about what it is, and how it’s going to affect SharePoint going forward.

Day 3: SharePoint Sessions

  • Today was my session on “Learn Best Practices for Customizing and Branding SharePoint Team sites” I co-presented with Tejas Mehta. The turnout was pretty good, and overall my presentation seemed to be well received, even though a lot of people already know the basic branding methods. I think that declared, continuing support for custom master pages is the biggest takeaway for my audience. We’ve been hearing a lot in the last couple years about how you should not customize a master page. But there are some scenarios, moving forward, where you will need to customize them. There still may be some bumps in the road with upcoming improvements, and yes, Master Pages days are numbered (i.e. a while, not anytime soon). Moving away from the feature framework, and finding other remote deployment options such as PnP Powershell will also be important to explore going forward.
  • Today was also all about connections. As I’ve said before: the reason you come to Ignite is for the networking. And the networking this year has been outstanding. Having the Microsoft Experience Area available to us has been invaluable. What an easy way to get all your questions answered, and there is valuable information for Ignite attendees at every turn. Just being in the Expo Hall is truly a gift.

How about the rest of the week?

With the action packed start of the week behind us, we have a lot to look forward to in the final two days here in Atlanta. There are a couple of big sessions I’m looking forward to on Thursday, featuring more on the PnP and SharePoint Framework, and site templating/site provisioning. There is also still a lot of networking to do. Thursday is the last day in the Expo Hall, and it’s our final chance to interact with everyone. It is also the somewhat sadder part of our trip, as it is also the time so start saying goodbye to the big global Microsoft community until the next Ignite. I look forward, in the next couple days, to putting a nice cap on a fantastic week.


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